Math Ed 117

Critical Review of School Mathematics

Spring 2010


Professor:           Blake E. Peterson                                                              Class Time:      MWF 10:00-11:50 a.m.

Office:                       193B TMCB                                                                              Classroom:       173 TMCB

email:                                                   Office Hours: MWF 9:00-10:50 a.m.             

phone:                         422-7784                                                                                                                                         and by appointment                               




Course Goals: The purpose of this course is two fold:


1.         To allow you to develop rich conceptions of some of the mathematics you may teach as a secondary mathematics teacher. You will do this by reviewing some of the important mathematical ideas you encountered in middle school and reconsidering them from a new perspective. In particular, you will investigate the topics of fractions, integers, and algebra from a conceptual orientation that focuses on relationships between quantities and actions on quantities. You will develop specific mathematical images to help you make sense of many of the rules and procedures you have learned for fractions, integers, and algebra. These images will be extremely helpful to you when you teach, because they will give you new ways of thinking about mathematics.

2.         To allow you to reconsider your beliefs about mathematics and mathematics teaching. As you investigate the mathematics topics in this course and develop new conceptions and understandings, you will have the opportunity to reconsider your beliefs about what constitutes mathematics, mathematical understanding and activity, and mathematics learning and teaching.


Text: None.


Grading:                 Homework                                                                                                                                                            150 pts

                                                            Better 2 of 3 Midterms (150 pts each)                                                                        300 pts

Other 1 of 3 Midterm Exams                                                                                                    100 pts

                                                            Final Exam                                                                                                                                                           250 pts

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Total                               800 pts                                                                                                  

                                                                           100-93%             A                      76-73%               C

                                                                             92-90%             A-                    72-70%               C-

                                                                             89-87%             B+                  69-67%               D+

                                                                             86-83%             B                       66-63%               D

                                                                        82-80%             B-                    62-60%               D-

                                                                             79-77%             C+                  59-0%                   F


Homework: Homework will be assigned almost every class period and will be collected the following class period. The homework will be scored 50% for quantity and 50% for quality. The lowest homework score will be dropped so no late homework will be accepted.


Exams: There will be three midterm exams and a comprehensive final. The midterm exams will be given in the testing center and will take approximately 1-2 hours to complete. The tentative testing beginning dates are May 10 (Monday), May 24 (Monday) and June 9 (Wednesday) and will run through the following day. The final will be given on Wednesday June 16 from 9-11am or Thursday June 17 from 1-3 pm.





Because we will be developing a community of learners in which ideas will be shared and examined, daily attendance is expected.  Class exploration and discussion will be the center of what we do in class. Thus, our time together in class will require more thoughtful participation than in a traditional lecture format.  Prompt class attendance is crucial.  So also, is a willingness to formulate and ask questions about the mathematics you are learning, being anxiously engaged in sharing your ways of thinking mathematically, and seeking to understand the mathematical thinking of others. It is important that we create an atmosphere where the sharing of ideas is valued and safe, where we donŐt face ridicule for expressing a lack of understanding or for making mistakes.  Examining mistakes and misunderstandings are all part of the learning process, and are even necessary to our growth. Because of the importance of attendance, a 2% grade deduction will be assessed for each absence past the second one.


Honor Code Standards

In keeping with the principles of the BYU Honor Code, students are expected to be honest in all of their academic work.  Academic honesty means, most fundamentally, that any work you present as your own must in fact be your own work and not that of another.  Violations of this principle may result in a failing grade in the course and additional disciplinary action by the university.


Students are also expected to adhere to the Dress and Grooming Standards.  Adherence demonstrates respect for yourself and others and ensures an effective learning and working environment.  It is the universityŐs expectation, and my own expectation in class, that each student will abide by all Honor Code standards.  Please call the Honor Code Office at 422-2847 if you have questions about those standards.


Preventing Sexual Discrimination or Harassment

Sexual discrimination or harassment (including student-to-student harassment) is prohibited both by the law and by Brigham Young University policy.  If you feel you are being subjected to sexual discrimination or harassment, please bring your concerns to the professor.  Alternatively, you may lodge a complaint with the Equal Employment Office (D-240C ASB) or with the Honor Code Office (422-2847).


Students with Disabilities

If you have a disability that may affect your performance in this course, you should get in touch with the office of Services for Students with Disabilities (1520 WSC).  This office can evaluate your disability and assist the professor in arranging for reasonable accommodations.